It is not odd for newborns to cry. That is the way they express their needs. Babies cry for various reasons, from hunger, to feeling cold or hot, to diaper change. But if the baby cries inconsolably for more than three hours for no apparent reason, colic could be the cause. There are many home remedies for colic that will help to soothe a colicky baby.
What Is Colic?
Colic is recurrent, continuous, intense crying or restlessness in a well-nourished and healthy child. Even though colic will not affect the normal growth and development of babies, the crying of babies can take a toll on mothers, especially new mothers taking care of newborn babies. That is why parents intensely search the forums for “newborn colic tips.”
The crying spells happen at the same time of day. Colic episodes usually appear a few weeks after birth and peak when an infant is about 6 weeks old. It usually starts to lessen considerably after 3 to 4 months of age. Even though they may cry a great deal, colic is neither dangerous nor harmful. It can happen regardless of your baby’s gender, or if they are bottle-fed or breast-fed. Also, if babies cry after feeding is a whole different scenario.
Colic in babies is not a rare occurrence. According to studies, 20% of babies are colicky babies.
5 Signs Your Baby Has Colic
Do you wonder if your child is crying because of colic? Well, some pointers help you to find if your baby has colic. Following are five symptoms of colic in babies:
1. Cries insolubly
Colic is distinguished by prolonged spells of crying for no apparent reason. If a newborn has recurrent episodes of inconsolable crying but looks to be healthy and well, they may be suffering from colic. Colicky babies cry in a pattern. They may cry for:
- 3 hours a day
- 3 days a week
- 3 successive weeks
While crying the baby makes sounds that are more intense than normal cry. It will be more like a high-pitched scream rather than a cry. Even if you feed or rock the colicky infant, you will be unable to comfort them.
2. Shows signs of intense pain
When babies with a colic cry, they exhibit the following behaviours:
- Arch their back
- Clench their fists
- Tightening and tensing of abdominal muscles
- Bring their arms and legs up to their belly.
- Passes a lot of gas when crying
3. Do not enjoy being held or touched
Colicky babies dislike being stroked or hugged by their mothers. When you try to carry the infant, the crying will become more intense.
4. Inconsistent and disrupted sleep
Colic will affect the quality of sleep of the baby. The sleep may be inconsistent and disturbed by crying spells.
5. Disrupted feeding
Feeding may also be disrupted and irregular, with bouts of excessive crying. However, the baby’s total nutrient intake will not be affected. They may refuse to breastfeed due to abdominal pain. However, once they are thirsty or hungry, they will demand breastfeeding again. This interrupted feeding will make them crankier.
Related Reading: 10 Safe Home Remedies For Baby Diaper Rash
9 Home Remedies For Colic In Babies
Colic should be gone by the time your kid is four months old. In the meanwhile, there are several excellent home remedies for colic that can help.
According to studies, five activities, that stimulate a group of reflexes like auditory, vestibular, etc. can work together to calm a colicky baby. This comprises swaddling, shushing, stomach position, swinging, and sucking (the five S’s).
Following are 9 home remedies for colic in babies. There’s no harm in giving them a shot. One or more will undoubtedly assist you in calming the colicky child.
1. Press the baby’s belly
Some babies with colic are found to calm down while applying some pressure on their abdomen. This is one of the oldest home remedies for colic. For this, you can,
- Place your baby face-down on your lap
- Hold the baby upright with its tummy on your shoulder
- Let the baby sleep face down with their belly resting on your arm. This way of putting the infant to sleep is known as “colic carry”
- When the baby is face down on your lap or hand, gently rub, massage, or lightly pat their back
Related Reading: 9 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Baby Massage
2. Try burping your baby
Burping the baby will help ease the pain if the baby’s inconsolable crying is caused by gas. Make it a practice to burp the baby after each feeding. This relieves gas and prevents air from being trapped in the baby’s tummy. Also, apple juice is widely used for constipation in babies.
Do you want to know how to burp a colicky baby? Place the baby on your shoulder after feeding. Support the baby’s neck and shoulder with one hand. Gently massage or pat the baby’s back with the other hand until you hear a burp.
3. Probiotics can be beneficial
Babies require Bifida bacteria for enhancing the process of digestion. These friendly gut bacteria will aid in the prevention of the intestinal problems that cause colic in newborns.
Many factors can influence the proliferation of these beneficial gut bacteria in infants. This makes them more prone to colic.
In these circumstances, probiotic drops are found very effective in curbing the crying spells in some colicky babies. Some research also supports providing probiotics to colicky newborns to help reduce their crying bouts.
Again, data is limited, so consult with your paediatrician to see whether you should try it. When purchasing probiotic drops, look for the purest newborn probiotics available on the market, with no additional fillers.
4. Adhere to a healthy breastfeeding diet
If you are an exclusively nursing mother, your diet has an impact on the quality of your breast milk. If you have a colicky baby, you should avoid foods that might cause colic symptoms in the baby. So, keep an eye on what you eat. There are certain foods that should be completely avoided during breastfeeding.
While dairy is a large contributor to colic in newborns, other frequent allergens in mothers’ diets such as wheat/gluten, shellfish, citrus, eggs, caffeine, and spicy foods can also cause colic in babies.
Allow 2-4 weeks after removing these items from your diet to ensure they are removed from your body and milk. One of the most effective symptoms of colic is a hypoallergenic diet (which eliminates dairy, eggs, wheat, and nuts) followed by their mothers.
5. Warm baths, massage, and compresses will be beneficial
Some colicky babies like to be soaked in a warm bath. Warm water helps soothe their aching tummies. Using a warm water bottle or a warm washcloth as a warm compress is also equally beneficial. Know more about bathing a 1-3 months old baby.
A warm compress helps to relieve the gas accumulated on the baby’s stomach. Applying warm mustard oil in the navel area and gently massaging is also good to relieve colic in babies.
6. Try pedalling exercise
Certain baby exercises are excellent when it comes to releasing gas from colic babies. Pedalling exercise is one such effective exercise to eliminate air trapped in the baby’s stomach.
This exercise is very simple. Make the baby lie on its back. Gently grasp the baby’s ankle and gently push one leg toward the abdomen. Bring each leg close to the abdomen and hold on for a few seconds. Repeat this for a few minutes.
However, if your child is not okay with this exercise, please stop immediately.
Related Reading: 11 Tips To Encourage Babies To Roll Over
7. Increase the Tummy Time
Increasing tummy time is another effective home remedy for colic in babies. You may also gently massage their back during tummy time. This helps to pass gas.
Tummy time should be initiated only when the baby is awake. Also, avoid tummy immediately after feeding. Maintain a gap of (minimum) 30 minutes between feeding and tummy time.
Related Reading: 6 Benefits And 5 Concerns Of Comfort Feeding
Add two tweaks of asafoetida in warm water. Apply it in and around the naval area. It is one of the popular Indian home remedies for colic in infants. For babies who have started solid foods, mixing some asafoetida in their water or food will help to eliminate most of the digestive issues.
9. Concoctions and herbal waters
- To a cup of boiling water, add a teaspoon of fennel seeds. Allow it to settle for 10 minutes. Filter it and let it cool to room temperature. Give this water to your child
- Tulsi/basil leaves offer a wide range of therapeutic qualities. The antispasmodic qualities of basil leaves make them very effective in treating colic in newborns. Bring water to a boil with a few basil leaves. Allow it to cool before giving it to your baby to drink
- Anti-gas drops that help to eliminate gas and relieve colic. However, only use one prescribed by the doctor
- Gripe water is well known for treating colic in babies. While buying the water, make sure it is completely natural and does not contain any preservatives
- Add a drop of peppermint oil into baby massage oil. Rub it between your palms to warm it up. Then, gently massage the baby’s tummy with the oil
- Feed your baby longer so that the baby drinks more Hindmilk. Hindmilk contains more fat, which promotes digestion and soothes the stomach. Too much foremilk can cause digestive distress
- Repetitive movements help to soothe colicky babies. Putting babies in a baby swing, rocking chair, taking them for a drive, etc. will help to soothe colicky babies
Tips For Colic Relief In Formula-Fed Babies
If your formula-fed baby is colicky all the time, try
- A different brand of formula. Babies can be sensitive to certain proteins in formula
- Neither overfeed your baby nor feed too quickly
- Use a nipple with a smaller hole. This will slow down their feeding
- Warm the formula to body temperature
- Feed the baby in an upright position
- Change the feeding bottle
What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Colic Baby?
The only safe sleeping position for all babies is on their back. If your colic baby is having trouble falling asleep, keep them on their side. Swaddling will also help. Hold your baby against your stomach on their side or their stomach. This helps calm the baby and get a good sleep.
Related Reading: When Can A Baby Sleep With A Pillow?
Colic does not give your infant any short-term or long-term issues. The continuous crying, on the other hand, might be difficult to deal with. But it seldom lasts longer than the first six months. Always seek the advice of your doctor if you feel the situation is out of control.